Archive | March, 2016

A Month of Milonga with Guest Artist David Orly-Thompson

Bay Area tango teacher David Orly-ThompsonWe are excited to welcome David Orly-Thompson to Alma del Tango! For the entire month of April David will be teaching all Level 1 – 4 classes, focusing on milonga. Here’s your chance to polish your skills with this popular Bay Area teacher. You’ll also be able to book a private with David. (Rose Vierling will continue to teach Contemporary Tango on Saturdays).

What does David want dancers to get from his classes? “Of course, I want them to dance well, to have many options, to have technique that supports their musicality and their ability to give pleasure to their partner.

But equally, I want them to find themselves in the dance, and to find some of the very highest experiences that are possible in tango.  This means knowing and feeling the music.  I really hope people come to delight in the special longing, almost a suffering, that is so rich in tango music and dance.

This is something relatively alien to our North American culture, and not at all the same as the blues, which I also like very much.”

Becoming a tanguero

David discovered Argentine Tango in 1993 in San Francisco where he saw it performed in a showcase. “I was moved by the pace of the dance. It seemed more personal and romantic than the other dances—freer and more improvisatory,” he says. Bored with his day job, he took the plunge and started taking classes.

David Orly-Thompson, guest artist at Alma del Tango

David teaching with Mariana Ancarola at the Metronome

In 2000 he had an opportunity to go to Buenos Aires for a year to immerse himself in the tango culture. One year turned into three. His training was focused with Gustavo Naviera and Giselle Ann and Mariano (Chicho) Frumboli.

“It was a very exciting time in tango since the repertoire and technique was beginning to expand exponentially,” he explains.

Teaching around the Bay

You might have encountered David at one of the many Bay Area venues where he has taught. He was a regular at the former Metronome in San Francisco where he hosted a popular milonga on Saturday nights.  He has also taught at Two Left Feet in Danville, Bay West Ballroom in San Rafael, Lake Merritt in Oakland, and currently teaches an intermediate class on Tuesday nights at Finnish Hall in Berkeley.

Says Debbie: “David is a gem in the SF tango community. He is one of my favorite leaders to dance with.  I have taught with him on many occasions and find him an insightful teacher. He loves analyzing the structure of the dance and just having fun with it.”

Popular DJ

David is passionate about the music. “As a DJ I build an evening around what used to be called The Big 4: Troilo, D’Arienzo, DiSarli and Pugliese.  I pepper the evening with other minor orquestas like Rodriquez, Canaro (far and away the most prolific band), and Laurenz, when the mood strikes.

 Book a private with David           

Take advantage of David’s time at Alma del Tango to book a private with him. You can speak to him at class or call him at 510-375-8805 to secure your time.

 

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Special Performance ~Christianna Valentina and Daniel Fabricant

Christianna Valentina in performance at Alma del Tango

Christianna performs in Alma del Tango’s “Tango Dreamscapes.”

 Mini Concert March 18 at La Practica de San Anselmo

Christianna Valentina, vocalist and pianist, and acoustic bassist Daniel Fabricant, will present a mini concert at our practica on Friday, March 18. The duo will perform three traditional tango pieces “in a slightly untraditional way,” says Christianna, along with a Brazilian tune which they have adapted as a tango.

An Alma del Tango scholarship student, Christianna takes private classes with John Campbell and attends up to three group classes each week. The scholarship also gives her the opportunity to build her repertoire as a tango musician and singer. In 2015, she performed in two student productions, Tango Dreamscapes and Moment to Moment. Alma del Tango also provides audio and video support through Alma Video Productions under the direction of John Campbell.  Here, Christianna performs El Dia Que Me Quieras at our Holiday Gala last December. 

Daniel, an in-demand Bay Area bassist, plays with the Redwood Tango Ensemble. Daniel Fabricant, bass player, performs at Alma del Tango The two have collaborated for over 10 years, and they perform together in a group called Mr. Lonesome and the Blue Belles. They can be heard the first Wednesday of every month at the Deluxe Club in San Francisco.

Christianna explains that performing tango music with just piano, voice and strings is challenging because “you’re taking orchestral music and paring it down. You have to make sure all the parts are there and that it rhythmically connects, and still sounds like the song.”

She’s often asked if she understands what she’s singing about. “I do,” she says. Christianna has studied Spanish (as well as Portuguese and Italian). “I study the lyrics and get coaching on Argentine pronunciation.”

In her arrangements of tango music she brings in richer harmonies found in jazz music. “Tango uses a lot of three-note chords, similar to classical music,” she explains.

“I feel so fortunate for this opportunity with Alma del Tango. I probably wouldn’t have started playing tango music if it hadn’t been for that first show – Tango Dreamscapes,” she says.

Don’t miss this exciting evening with Christianna and Daniel. Refreshments and dancing follow, all for the price of the practica–$10. (If you take the class from 7-8:15 – $18 total)

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